Dad inspired to produce improved high chair for sick children

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A Dad from Crowborough has produced a specialist high chair for young children undergoing treatment on paediatric wards, after the loss of his 20-month-old daughter in November 2020.

Russ and Vikki Banner, live on Southview Road. Their daughter Connie was born with a congenital heart defect in March 2019. At three weeks she underwent successful surgery to make a temporary repair and was able to come home from the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. In August 2020, Russ and Vikki agreed to planned surgery for Connie which was intended to extend her life until a heart donor could be found. Unfortunately Connie passed away due to complications after the surgery.

Russ explained:

Whilst in hospital, I watched how challenging it was to take a sick child and help them sit upright for play. After her passing I came up with an idea to improve sick children’s play and posture by designing a cot-based chair which would enhance their quality of life post-surgery.

We have a completed a working prototype are looking to trial the product in local pre school settings before progressing to paediatric hospitals.

We are hoping to raise £100,000 to make the chairs freely available to all our paediatric hospitals.

Russ Banner

The chair is designed to help children sit upright and play whilst remaining connected to tubes and ventilators. The primary goal is to improve children’s mobility post-surgery and improve their psychological wellbeing as they have the opportunity to play and interact with their families.

Russ is a careers coach and runs a company that produces resources for schools and colleges. Over the last year, he has used his spare time developing an idea which came to him while his own daughter was in hospital.

Play time often meant taking her out of the cot bed and placing her into a type of high chair. This was incredibly challenging to do, partly because of all the medical equipment attached to her – the cables, lines and feeds which were providing her with the drugs she needed and the ventilator that she was on.

It usually took at least two nurses and a parent to get her into a high chair or even just a chair for a cuddle.

So I thought well why couldn’t we have a chair to go in the bed with a tray that would enable her, or children like her, to have some respite and playtime while sitting up – and that’s when I came up with the chair.

Russ Banner

Click for more information and to make a donation Connie Medical Chair.

All the proceeds received will go towards creating the product or helping to get chairs on as many paediatric wards across the country as possible.

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